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Job openings rise to 3.1 million in February

Job openings rise to 3.1 million in February (by Ruth Mantell)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Job openings at U.S. workplaces rose to 3.1 million in February, the highest level since September 2008, from 2.7 million in January, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Private job openings rose to 2.8 million from 2.4 million. Openings have gained about 23% in the past year. There were about 4.4 million jobs open when the recession began in December 2007. With about 13.7 million unemployed people in February, there were more than four potential job seekers for each opening. The number of separations, such as quits and layoffs, rose to 3.8 million in February from 3.6 million in January. Meanwhile, the total number of people hired rose to 3.9 million from 3.8 million, with private-sector hiring increasing to 3.6 million from 3.5 million.